Now that we are nearly a quarter of the way through the 21st Century, it is interesting to speculate on who is the best world leader thus far.

With the advantage of hindsight, we can clearly recognize the great world leaders of the last century; in no particular order my list would include Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Konrad Adenauer, Yoshida Shigeru, Charles De Gaulle, Lee Kuan Yew, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping. These are the figures who put the world together again after the ravages of world war and socialism.

Now for my list of the runners and riders for my vote for best world leader of the 21st Century. But first, a quick comment on the utterly useless.

Some heralded Merkel as an ‘Iron’ lady with a handbag – a woman in the Thatcher mould. There was no handbag. Instead, she carried a stiletto with which to knife her political rivals. An ace at political manoeuvre, Merkel’s energy and immigration policies have led to Germany’s current economic and social demoralisation.

President Obama was the standard bearer of an evil totalitarian woke cult that has swept the world over the last decade. Instead of using his office to heal racial divisions he stirred them up by provably false accusations of institutional racism. As a result, the corrupt and divisive Black Lives Matter movement was set in motion. Obama’s equally ghastly woke apostles were New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and Canada’s Justin Trudeau.

Obama also aligned himself with the globalist interests of corporate America in taking a ‘just-get-over-it-attitude’ to the workers of middle America. His foreign policy failures included a soft, ‘kick-the-can-down-the-road’ sort of nuclear deal with Iran. In Asia Obama was asleep at the wheel in failing to push-back China’s military takeover of the South China Sea. All the while Obama and his wife Michelle exuded a repellent, narcissistic moral superiority.

Xi Jinping also makes the bad leader list. Having established a personalisation of power not seen since Mao Zedong, Xi’s overly aggressive and ham-fisted attempt to bend Southeast Asia to his will in taking over the South China Sea as well as his bullying behaviour towards Taiwan, has alienated the world.

If Chinese leadership has been downright bad, the leaders of France have simply disappointed. Both Sarkozy and Macron rode into office with pledges to reform the bloated French state apparatus. They both failed utterly. Between their presidencies, Francois Hollande, the unlikely, diminutive lothario, proved to be an inept windbag.

But neither has British leadership got much to boast about. Prime Minister Tony Blair left a legacy of fake dossiers on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction which he used to justify what turned out to be a disastrous intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. His successor, Gordon Brown, gave every appearance of being a paranoid sociopath, and spent so much government money in a failed attempt to get himself re-elected that his chief secretary to the treasury left a note for his successor saying, ‘I’m afraid there is no money’.

David Cameron ran away from his duty to implement the result of the referendum that he called on membership of the European Union. Sadly, thereafter the conservative party elected a trio of inept leaders; Theresa May, an overpromoted non-entity, Boris Johnson, a brilliant campaigner who was, as one of his many mistresses said to me recently, ‘completely unsuited to be a prime minister,’ and Liz Truss, an inflexible monomaniac, who self-destructed within days of taking office.

So, who does that leave to claim the mantle of being the 21st Century’s greatest leader? Narendra Modi would be on my shortlist. He is halfway toward a restructuring of an Indian economy that was built on Nehru’s Congress Party’s socialist legacy. Donald Trump’s current legacy is similarly half finished. Leaving aside his economic reforms, the Abraham Accords, a reconciliation of Israel with the Arab states, was a highlight; it was a diplomatic triumph for which any president other than Trump would have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Viktor Orban is also a leader of note in the 21st Century; he has brilliantly developed his country’s economy and refused to kowtow to the socialist euro-elite. Judging by his performance last week in Davos, where he denounced the globalist elite to its face, Javier Matei may well become South America’s ‘Orban’.  Collectively the leaders of Switzerland, largely faceless to the world’s media, deserve recognition for running the most democratic and best managed country in Europe.

However, my top prize for world leader of the 21st Century must go to Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu – Israel’s leader for 16 of the last 27 years. This may come as a surprise to some given the pervasive opprobrium that is heaped upon him by the liberal global media. Donald Trump apart, he must be arguably the most reviled leader of his generation.

Some of the criticism may be fair. He is arrogant, self-serving, and narcissistic – typical politic characteristics. Above all he is anti-left and anti-Palestinian – qualities that are inimical to a western, and indeed Jewish liberal elite which despises him. Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, head of investment bank NM Rothschild, referred to Bibi in his first term as prime minister as ‘that appalling man’.

Over the last few years Bibi has attracted further opprobrium by his government’s attempt to bring to heal a supreme court which, since the presidency of supreme court justice Aharon Barak in the 1990s, has become increasingly leftist and politicised – granting to itself the power to cancel laws and putting itself above the sovereignty of the elected Knesset.

Netanyahu has also been heavily criticised for the failure of Israeli security to prevent Hamas’s gruesome attack on 7 October. But surely opposition figures such as Benny Gantz or Naftali Bennett would have been similarly blindsided? It should be noted that nobody called for the resignation of FD Roosevelt after the failure of US intelligence in preventing Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Now let’s look at Netanyahu’s greatest success and one that is almost entirely overlooked by western media. More than anyone Netanyahu is responsible for Israel’s economic miracle that has made his country the world’s 13th wealthiest; GDP per capita has increased from US$17,000 to US$58,200 since 2003.

When Netanyahu became prime minister for the first time in 1996, Israel was a sclerotic socialist economy. In 2003 the public sector accounted for half of Israel’s GDP. This was anathema to Bibi who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then worked for Boston Consulting Group. Apart from learning capitalism first hand in the US, Bibi took on board the libertarian values of Ayn Rand after reading her seminal novel The Fountainhead on the recommendation of Yoni, his older brother. (Yoni Netanyahu was later killed by Palestinian terrorists while leading Israel’s special forces to liberate Jewish hostages at Entebbe Airport).

Taking a leaf out of Margaret Thatcher’s book, Bibi deregulated Israel’s foreign exchange controls which limited citizens to taking just US$7,000 out of the country. To the shock of leftist economists, there was no capital flight. Instead, a floating exchange rate brought international funds flooding into Israel.

There followed a highly successful privatisation programme, budgetary discipline, and tax cuts. The government budget was curtailed. but not at the expense of infrastructure investment. This included a programme to increase the number of science and maths graduates by 50% - thereby laying the foundation for Tel Aviv’s becoming the world’s third most important tech hub.

But Bibi’s most important contribution to global leadership has not been in the realm of economics but global security. More than any other world leader Netanyahu has stood steadfast in refusal to countenance a Palestinian state, whose component parts are currently run by terrorist groups, Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.

Neither of these groups will ever accept Israel’s existence. Netanyahu has always recognized that a two-state solution would exacerbate not resolve the region’s instability. The 7 October massacre of Jews demonstrated the accuracy of Bib’s understanding of the real nature of Hamas – an unreformable Jihadi death cult that is a menace not only to Israel but also the world.

We should therefore be grateful for Netanyahu’s determination to destroy Hamas. Its destruction would be a defeat for global Jihadism as important as the eradication of Al Qaeda and Isis. Failure would simply encourage a global Jihadist movement that is already embedded and emboldened in many western countries. Netanyahu’s steadfast leadership in countering Palestinian terrorism, is a beacon of hope in the world’s worst neighbourhood. This alone should win him our vote as the greatest world leader of his generation.